Councils need to provide safe rooms for domestic violence victims

All councils will be required to provide “safe” rooms for domestic violence victims forced out of their homes, communities secretary Ruth Kelly announced yesterday.

The government has published new guidance explaining how to set up the rooms, known as sanctuary schemes, within a home fitted with safety measures including CCTV.

Addresses of such schemes, which are currently run in around one third of councils, will be flagged on police computers.

Kelly said: “It is not right that victims should have no other choice but to go into temporary accommodation or refuges, which can feel unsettling and cause family upheaval at the worst possible time. That is why I want to see more local authorities provide the option of a sanctuary scheme.”

The government said an early evaluation of the schemes had shown 90 per cent of victims of domestic violence believed they were a good idea.

In Barnet, 40 sanctuary schemes were set up in 2004/05, leading to a 40 per cent decrease in families in temporary accommodation because of domestic violence.

Funding for the schemes will come from a £74 million homelessness grant to councils next year.

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